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Old 08-25-2013, 09:18 PM   #241
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

Ran into a snag today and almost through in the towel. I spent the morning not doing much, because I could not figure how to hold the sheet metal in place to re-skin where the windows were. I did get out the air compressor that was given to me a couple years ago and hook up the pneumatic riveter I got from Harbor Freight



A six gallon air compressor is not much,but for free... I can get thirteen rivets before it start up to re fill the tank. At my speed that will work. I'm using 3/16 steel structural rivets. The pneumatic riveter works good. here is a demo rivet.



After lunch I said I have to try something. I held the first piece up and wedged it under the gutter and was able to get a clamp on it to hold in place long enough to drill and rivet the first hole. It took several tries because it kept sliding around after I put on the silicone to seal up between the sheet metal.



Finally got the first piece up. When I tried the other side it did not go so well. For one thing I now have to operate the clamp with my left had, and that did not work. After about an half hour of frustration and knowing the rest of the sheet metal cover two windows. They are 5' long and 10" taller. there is no way I will be able to get them up.

I set and moped in the bus for an hour wondering what to do. Like I said , I almost through the towel in for the day and gave up. The a plan started to form. I grabbed some paper and started drawing.



I know cool isn't it.

First I needed to find tow small bottle jacks on a Sunday evening. I went to both home depot and lowes, all they had was the 20 ton for about $60.00. I pulled out my smart phone and did a search and found that the Walmart around the corner had 2 ton jacks fro $12.00. It showed three in stock, so I placed my order online and headed over to pick them up. A quick trip back to home depot for some 2 x 4's. Half hour later and $50.00 poorer. I screwed the 2 x 4's mostly square together. Used my drill press to drill two holes in the jacks to secure to the top 2 x 4's. Them welded a 4' piece of steel that had a 1/4 ' lip on it to the jacks. Here it is.



I'm glad I used two jacks, it makes up for the unevenness of the ground. It also wedges the sheat metal under the gutter further. I'm also able to walk around with a hammer to align it up with the U channel.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:20 PM   #242
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

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Originally Posted by NilesSkoolie
Looking really good!!! I wish Ontario was more lenient on customization. If i did this i would never get it insured here.. Great job!!!
I can't get it insured other than liability. They will only insure professionally built buses. So hey what the heck.
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:04 AM   #243
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

Very clever....good show!!
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:06 AM   #244
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

Awesome!! When I did mine, I just managed to wreak havok on my back :/ I was using butyl rubber tape, though, so that did make it a little easier.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:30 AM   #245
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

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Awesome!! When I did mine, I just managed to wreak havok on my back :/ I was using butyl rubber tape, though, so that did make it a little easier.
I tweaked my back a little, on that second piece. I thought about butyl tape, I will use it around the windows. I read where several people just used silicone between the sheet metal and I have five tubes of indoor-outdoor, so why not use it up. On the first panel that goes on the U channel, I will use adhesive, the silicone on the overlap.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:54 AM   #246
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

I love being able to use up stuff I have sitting around. Makes me feel efficient, lol
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:22 PM   #247
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

House cleaning time, I can't find anything.



Now this is much better.



Before I can finish re-skinning the bus, there are some things I need to get done first.

1) re-weld the rear of the raised roof to the old roof. I also need to do this in the front, but that can wait until I get there.



This is where I cut the roof apart.



Now after the roof raise. I re-cut this area square and used a piece of support steel that I cut out of the front of the roof to do the raise. I cut the steel to fit and clamped it in to weld.



Welded it in, forgive the welding. I have many excuses, but I beat it with a hammer and it holds.



I know this is one of my worst welds. The sun was setting behind me and kept triggering my face shield. I released the ratchet strap I used to pull the sides back in and beat it some more with a hammer and it is still holding. I may touch it up next time I'm out.

2) I need to clean and primer the steel before I put it up.

3) I want to make a jig for drilling the holes to rivet. That will make it easier to drill and make them all look consistent.

Then I get to try the "Re-Skinning Steel Raising Machine" or the RSSRM on the big pieces. Us Navy people need acronyms, but doesn't that sound like restroom?
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:39 PM   #248
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

Your sheet metal jack is a stroke of genius!
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:13 AM   #249
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

Any welds that look awful are most likely enough structurally, but there is nothing wrong with hitting them with a grinder and doing another pass if you want to be sure they will hold.

I just got my welder extension cable, I'm finally welding too, most fun I've had so far with the bus is cutting out rusty spots and plating over them. The day before I removed the foam from the back seat. that was a nightmare. Thomas has crazy strong glue.

Going good over there!
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Old 08-27-2013, 01:10 PM   #250
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

I'm reluctant to tell others what to do or how to do it--especially on this forum where there so many knowledeable folks but I detected a bit of concern on your part about that last weld and I thought I'd venture my two cents worth. If the bit you just welded in is just a space filler then I'd agree that you are good to go. If on the other hand it is somewhat structural I'd recommend grinding it out for a re-do. The material appears to be fairly thick (1/4" or more?) and would lend itself to being ground back at a 45 degree angle along the weld lines. This allows for better penetration of the weld and is especially important if the material can't be welded from both sides. Jack
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